F U T U R E R I T U A L @ hackney showroom
queer feminist performance art
F U T U R E R I T U A L toured the UK to leeds, bristol, london and folkestone during autumn 2018. the tour was supported by arts council england
participating artists: alicia radage, anni movsisyan, eunjung kim, hellen burrough, joseph morgan schofield
artist statements and biographies from the event can be downloaded in the programme note above.
as part of the F U T U R E R I T U A L tour, we commissioned four artists to write responses to the work. the following response is by benjamin sebastian. all photos by jemima yong.
I’m going to write from my heart.
As such I will be writing through memory (time)
With desire (intent)
I will remember what I want to remember.
Everything is relative (not binary) and partial for our hearts are prisms with infinite sides.
By heart, I in no way suggest the shiny pink chocolate box image packaged to us by hetero cis patriarchal capitalism, but rather; the relentless fleshy muscle that pushes and pulls a bloody life force throughout the interiority of ones body.
I’m starting here. In the organic matter. With the flesh...
I remember your burns. I remember your wings. (J.M.S)
Within the matrix of hetero-patriarchy Icarus was suitably punished (death by drowning) for he did not head the instructions of The Father. Bad boy. Yawn. You however, through a poiesis of queer(ed) futility, radiated the knowledge that something is created through a departure from, or failure to adhere to, hetero-patriarchal scripts.
We too have wanted more, refused instruction, scorched our wings and fallen. But we have not drowned. We are awash in an infinite ocean of potential. An Icarian Sea.
I see you.
You messaged me the other day with this quote (after witnessing a performance from Nicholas Tee); “No satisfaction whatever at any time... There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching...” - flying or swimming - “...and makes us more alive than the others.” The quote is from the late choreographer, Martha Graham.
As I watched you manifest your fingers as feathers the transformation was choreographic and outright. I no longer saw fingers, I saw the dance of feather tipped wings in flight. I saw blood fall from your brow. I saw the damage from previous flights.
I remembered and felt that we are not drowning and our unrest reaps its own rewards in our Life.
I remember your words. I remember your blood. (A.R)
I knew you were in the room but I forgot. I was awaiting your entrance and then I remembered (you have always been here). I had just finished speaking with you. I knew what to expect yet still your presence evaded us. Present yet absent from view like so much of our non-binary cultural and history, slowly bleeding through. Quietly, resolutely authoring attention and futures.
As the first drop of (your) blood dispersed on, into and through (it’s a spectrum) the white barrier obscuring any view of your body from us; I remembered the missing, I remembered their trace.
Specifically I remembered the missing Ana Mendieta, recalling the traces and Body Tracks of where flesh once was. I thought about the invisible, monumental grief which occupies the location of loss. What have we lost? What are we loosing? And in a state of searching what will we find beyond it?
The boldest bloodstain permeated at mouth height, silently screaming. A sharp intake of breath and digitally you spoke:
You stretched time through pitch, pace and loop. We went deep. Deep into the Moors.
Northern (m)others wept.
The future is not female. Our bodies remain invisible.
I hear you and remember that our pasts have seeded our futures and that we are here to tend and grow.
I remember the clay. I remember the fruit. (E.K)
In numerous creation myths the Golem is an anthropomorphic being, magically created from inanimate material (usually clay or dust) by the Divine or those closely related to it. The Golem is matter without form, body without soul. The Golem is imperfect. The raison d'etre of the Golem is servitude. We are all Golems beneath Capitalist, Nation State rule.
I M M O R (T) A L I T Y. Bring the Anarchy.
As your golemesque mask quickly erodes you refuse any position of servitude. YOU bring forth form from the clay though the actions and intentions of your body. You forge the phallus and leave it trivial in your wake.
A forbidden fruit becomes form without matter as you tether it, creating cartographies with string and clay.
I M M O R (T) A L I T Y.
You shed your face once and for all. You have turned the Golem back into clay. How can we convince our siblings to do the same?
I remember that NONE ARE FREE UNTIL ALL ARE FREE. I remember where we are and sigh.
I remember your hands. I remember the sound. (H.B)
Nerve endings are concentrated in our hands so that we can feel the slightest variations in texture, pressure & temperature and according to philosophies of reflexology; pressure points corresponding to all our major organs and bodily systems are located in the hands and wrists. In numerous faiths the hand is a symbol of protection and healing.
As you kneaded the glass shards into the cement with your palms, a fine dust rose, visible in the beam of the spotlight. I thought about razor edges of tiny particles and my mirror neurons fired, yet I remained indifferent for it appeared that you did as well.
What happens to ones psyche when one engages the entire body through sharp, focalised pressure and micro piercing of the hands?
Through constant manipulations of the shards you flattened the mass (your hands did their protective work) before walking, kneeling and laying naked on the glass. I remember the continuous scrapping and clinking of the glass-on-cement as a drawn sonic ode to things that shatter.
I remembered we are sensitive. I remembered, we are all in need of healing.
I remember your future. I remember Her past. (A.M)
The first step in manifesting desire is imagining. The second step is the focusing of intent. You imagined a future beyond global capitalism, hetero-patrichary, white supremacy & coloniality. Together we must focus our intent. Yet these technologies of magic alone will not cease the systems that enslaves us.
As above. So Below. Everything is relative.
In executing a couplet of performances (performance lecture & ritual performance), you facilitated a straddling of the intellectual and the intuitive. In leading ritual under a waxing crescent moon you positioned us between cycles of banishing and manifesting.
When Persephone, Daughter of Demeter (Goddess of All That Grows), ate pomegranate seeds from the hand of Hades (God of the Dead) the seasons were born, she fell in love and happy became Queen of The Underworld. Forevermore Persephone would move between the worlds. Goddess above, Queen below.
As we shared in Persephone’s ritual we acknowledged a sacred truth. We must move between worlds, learning to thrive in all. Our intentions to dismantle hetero, white, patriarchal politics of coloniality will not manifest overnight and they will not manifest as absolute. We must thrive here as well, as Queens in the dark. We will thrive here as well, Goddesses of Light.